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SBIR/STTR

Aerogel Insulation to Support Cryogenic Technologies, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Aerogel Insulation to Support Cryogenic Technologies, Phase I
NASA strives to make space travel safer, faster, and cheaper, expanding our horizons for a new generation of space exploration and colonization. This cannot be accomplished solely through improvements in the launch vehicle; the launch site and ground control systems must be equally enhanced. The next generation cryogenic propellant storage and distribution system must integrate an efficient overall structure and layout of the launch site. Many of the components in propellant distribution systems can be complex and require an insulation that can be formed to these irregular shapes. Aspen Aerogels bead technology can provide NASA with a solution. Aerogel beads are configurable to virtually any shape and offer a lightweight viable insulation solution with substantial improvements over conventional insulations such as superior thermal performance at moderate vacuum levels. As an improvement over silica aerogel, Aspen proposes the use of higher strength and more resilient organically modified aerogel beads to insulate cryogenic pipeline applications. During the proposed effort we will investigate two types of materials for the generation of clamshell type insulation with far superior thermal insulation properties; aerogel beads held together with a binder, and novel self-adhesional aerogel beads, both encapsulated in evacuated vacuum panels. More »

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